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Same-sex Texas divorce sparks discussion of other issues

One Texas couple has been waiting almost two years to divorce. Why did it take so long? The reason is that they are both women, and their 2010 New Hampshire marriage was not recognized in Texas until recently. Now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in June that made same-sex marriage legal throughout the country, they were finally able to obtain a divorce.

This is one of the first same-sex divorces in Texas. It's also believed to be the first one in Tarrant County. However, attorneys say that the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage doesn't necessarily mean same-sex marriages will be easy to end. This one had its share of setbacks and went to a Fort Worth appeals court.

Because the couple in this case had no children together and no joint property to divide, their divorce lacked the legal issues that may come up in other divorces. The attorney for one of the women in this case noted that the Texas family code has not yet been revised to deal with issues involving child custody in same-sex marriage and even whether both spouses are considered parents after a divorce. One Austin attorney says that Texas legislators may not "have the will" to make this family code gender-neutral.

In the meantime, it may fall to attorneys and judges to facilitate same-sex divorces in Texas and to work to resolve issues like child custody and support. Therefore, any same-sex couple that is seeking a divorce or has other family law issues should seek the guidance of a Texas family law attorney who can help them navigate this legal territory that is still new and somewhat unchartered in our state.

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "Judge grants Tarrant County’s first gay divorce," Mitch Mitchell, Aug. 20, 2015

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